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Feb 15

Release of Western Invasive Plant Management: A Strategic Action Plan for t...

Release of Western Invasive Plant Management: A Strategic Action Plant for the Sagebrush Biome
Western Weed Coordinating Committee
February 1, 2020

 

The Western Invasive Plant Management: A Strategic Action Plan for the Sagebrush Biome represents the culmination of an unprecedented four-year collaboration among state and federal agencies investigating the threats of invasive plants to the sagebrush biome. The strategic plan identifies opportunities to overcome these threats through messaging, collaboration, prioritization, data sharing and increasing capacity to effectively implement cutting-edge, scientifically based management approaches across the Western landscape. 

Each landowner, organization, and agency involved in the conservation of the sagebrush biome recognizes the important economic, environmental, and cultural values that are at risk from invasions of harmful exotic plant species.  The ravages of wildfire in these Western landscapes are driven by these invasions, particularly invasive plants that increase wildfire frequency and intensity like cheatgrass.  These invasions often result in declining private property values, economic losses due to reduced land productivity and health, and drastic changes in local community lifestyles. Moreover, the complexity of the invasive species problem is exacerbated by expanding drought and development. 

Stakeholders across this landscape came together with a common vision, based on common concerns about the risk of invasive species, and on the necessary actions that have the potential to strategically halt or reverse the onslaught from these exotic invaders.  This Strategic Action Plan applies broadly and at all levels. 

In this bi-partisan and widely supported effort, the reader will likely find several components critical for helping address the invasive species issues they are currently encountering. A repeated concern raised by all stakeholders throughout the development of this Strategic Action Plan was the widespread lack of operational capacity and management capability to address invasive species; and a the need for major financial investments at all local, state, and federal levels.  Private landowners, public land managers, and scientists know what to do to restore and protect the sagebrush biome; they just need resources to win the battles they face.  This Strategic Action Plan is designed to change the paradigm for Western weed management, and serves as a foundation on which to build management capacity and develop stronger science-based policy decisions to guide all invasive plant management efforts in the future.  It is not designed to function tactically, but focuses on high-level strategic approaches developed through years of dialog and assessment by those directly impacted by invasive species.  Private individuals, government agencies, industry, and non-government groups are encouraged to actively embrace any one or more of the components of this plan that they are best suited to address.  In the near-term, the release of this Strategic Action Plan will be hosted by the Western Weed Coordinating Committee (WWCC) and made available on their website. However, in the coming months the WWCC and its Western Weed Strategic Action Plan Working Group will be working to develop a more extensive webpage dedicated to making the Strategic Action Plan a “living document” through tracking its implementation and accomplishments.

Please click here to view the full report. 

 


Feb 07

First Youth Under 18 Completes Western Native Trout Challenge

Read an article from Orvis interviewing the first youth under 18 to complete the Western Native Trout Challenge. 


Jan 11

The Association Applauds the Senate for Passage of the America's Conservati...

Washington D.C. (January 10, 2020)- The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is pleased to announce the passage of critical conservation legislation through the full Senate via unanimous consent for the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act (S. 3051). The Association thanks Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) for their leadership in advancing this bipartisan legislation through the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and successfully championing agreement by unanimous consent on the Senate floor late last evening. Passage by the full Senate followed a December 17th legislative markup on S. 3051 in the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, during which it passed by unanimous consent.     

“Immediate enactment of legislation is necessary to continue community-based actions that address the most pressing fish, wildlife, and habitat conservation issues by empowering habitat restoration, ensuring cleaner water for people and fish, and providing immediate steps for disease management,” said Secretary Kelly Hepler of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “The Association and our state fish and wildlife agency members strongly encourage the House to pass and the President to enact the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act in its current form without delay.”  

The bill combines several legislative provisions that are critical to fish, wildlife, and our natural resources, including codifying the National Fish Habitat Partnership program, reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, the establishment of a task force to combat the rapidly growing threat of chronic wasting disease, and many other vitally important conservation provisions. 
 
The Association looks forward to continuing to work with our conservation partners and members of the House of Representatives to expeditiously bring the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act to the House floor for immediate passage in its current form.    

The bill combines several legislative provisions that are critical to fish, wildlife, and our natural resources, including codifying the National Fish Habitat Partnership program, reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, the establishment of a task force to combat the rapidly growing threat of chronic wasting disease, and many other vitally important conservation provisions.   
The Association looks forward to continuing to work with our conservation partners and members of the House of Representatives to expeditiously bring the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act to the House floor for immediate passage in its current form.    
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 The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice. 


Dec 21

WAFWA's Office Has Moved

WAFWA has moved our Boise headquarters to a new address:

Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
3380 Americana Terrace, Suite 320
Boise, ID 83706

WAFWA's main phone number will remain the same at 208-331-9431

 

 

 


Dec 18

The Association Commends the House for Voting to Invest in Fish Habitat Pr...

 

The Association Commends the House for Voting to Invest in Fish Habitat Priorities

Washington D.C. (December 17, 2019)- The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) applauds the passage of the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act (H.R. 1747).  This bipartisan legislation, led by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), was packaged with the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act (H.R. 729) and passed in the House by a floor vote of 262-151 on December 10.

 

The National Fish Habitat Partnership works to proactively invest in fisheries conservation priorities and funds important on-the-ground habitat restoration projects. This legislation would codify and authorize funding for the National Fish Habitat Partnership and its 20 regionally based partnerships, which are working to protect, restore and enhance fish habitat through locally and state-led conservation efforts across the country. The program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

“The Association greatly appreciates the House leadership in passing this important legislation that will help ensure future generations can enjoy abundant and healthy fisheries for years to come,” said Secretary Kelly Hepler of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “This important legislation will help states and local communities with the management and conservation of fish and fish habitats that also bolster our great outdoor recreation economy.”

 

Last March, the National Fish Habitat Through Partnership Act was introduced in both the House and Senate with the support of states, conservation organizations, and the recreational fishing community. In September, the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act was passed favorably out of the House Committee on Natural Resources. 

 

Since 2006, the National Fish Habitat Partnership has supported 935 projects benefiting fish habitat in all 50 states. In 2019 alone, the National Fish Habitat Partnership, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provided more than $18 million to support 83 fish habitat conservation projects in 34 states. 

 

AFWA and the National Fish Habitat Partnership Program:

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan is an unprecedented attempt to address an unseen crisis for fish nationwide: loss and degradation of their watery homes. The plan was born in 2001 when an ad hoc group supported by the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council explored the notion of developing a partnership effort for fish on the scale of what was done for waterfowl in the 1980s through the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The waterfowl plan has worked wonders during the past two decades to boost waterfowl populations by forming strong local and regional partnerships to protect critical habitats. AFWA supports staffing for the National Fish Habitat Partnership and also has membership on the Executive Leadership Team of the Board. In addition, the National Fish Habitat Board includes members from states and regional AFWA Associations.

 

 

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The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice.

 


Nov 05

Western Native Trout Initiative Receives $190K Grant from Resources Legacy ...

Resources Legacy Fund is partnering again with the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) through the Open Rivers Fund to execute an ambitious watershed-scale restoration effort in the Warner Basin in southeast Oregon. The partnership will benefit several fish species of concern in the Warner Lakes, recreational fishing, and ranchers who divert water for irrigation.
 
Fish that will be conserved as part of this effort include the Warner Lakes Redband trout which is a state sensitive and federal species of concern, and also the Warner sucker, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The partnership will ultimately fund ten restoration projects over seven years to open 38 stream miles in the Warner Basin by 2025. This year’s grant of $190,000 will support the first four projects in the portfolio. 
 
Funds from this grant will be used to complete engineering design plans to replace two diversion dams and two concrete structures to provide fish passage at four sites on Deep Creek.  Activities supported by this first phase will open 31 river miles, restore stream and riverine habitat, reduce bank erosion and sedimentation, improve water supply reliability and reduce operation and maintenance costs for landowners by removing aging infrastructure. 
 
“We are excited for our continued partnership with the Western Native Trout Initiative in showcasing the effectiveness of updating in-stream infrastructure giving landowners better irrigation while also reconnecting rivers for fish,” said Shara Sparks, Program Manager at Resources Legacy Fund.  “We are proud to continue supporting this important work, which is part of a larger portfolio of projects in our Open Rivers Fund, restoring rivers throughout the West.”
 
Limited water in the eastern Oregon desert means that Warner Basin streams are a critical water source for fish, wildlife, and humans. Honey Creek and Deep Creek provide both irrigation water critical to local ranches and habitat for Warner sucker, Warner Lakes Redband Trout,other native fishes, and migrating birds. The low-lying portion of the Warner Basin provides the most fertile agricultural land in the area, as well as stream reaches critical to fish migrating from large lakes in the valley upstream to high-quality spawning and rearing habitats. Multiple irrigation diversion structures and other barriers fragment the watershed.  
 
“We are thrilled to continue the collaboration between WNTI and Resources Legacy Fund and begin a new partnership to benefit native fish, landowners, and recreationists in the Warner Basin,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “We are grateful to the Warner Basin Habitat Partnership and all of our local partners for their vision and in creating the plan to make this important work possible. Landscape-scale recovery efforts are complex and require collaboration from committed partners in both the public and private sectors.”
 
Other partners in the project include the Lake County Umbrella Watershed Council, Lakeview Soil and Water Conservation District, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, River Design Group, and Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board on the project.  
 
This project is part of the  Open Rivers Fund, a 10-year, $50 million program of Resources Legacy Fund, supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It supports local community efforts to remove obsolete dams, modernize infrastructure, and restore rivers across the West. Resources Legacy Fund works with donors to create significant outcomes for the environment and for people.
 
WNTI is a program of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and a recognized National Fish Habitat Partnership that works to cooperatively restore and recover 21 western native trout and char species and sub-species across their historic range. The program funds efforts that raise awareness of the importance of native trout and focus limited financial and human resources toward the highest-impact, locally-led, on-the-ground projects. Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed more than $35 million in federal, public and private funds to support 147 priority native trout conservation projects. WNTI and partners have removed 96 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 1,199 miles of native trout habitat, and put in place 35 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout populations.
 
WAFWA news releases available at www.wafwa.org/news/
 
Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.
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Aug 13

WNTI Receives $432K Grant from Resources Legacy Fund

Resources Legacy Fund is once again partnering with the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) through the Open Rivers Fund to reconnect parts of the Upper Bear River in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. The continued partnership will benefit Bonneville cutthroat trout, recreational fishing, and ranchers who divert water for irrigation. The partnership will ultimately fund ten restoration projects that will remove nine diversion dams, four additional barriers and restore stream and riparian habitat. This year’s grant of $432,000 is the second grant received by WNTI since last summer.

                                   

The projects funded through the Open Rivers Fund are expected to be completed by September 2020. The Open Rivers Fund is a 10-year, $50 million program of Resources Legacy Fund, supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It supports local community efforts to remove obsolete dams, modernize infrastructure, and restore rivers across the West. Resources Legacy Fund works with donors to create significant outcomes for the environment and for people.

 

Funds from this year’s $432,000 grant will be used to replace two diversion dams, a perched culvert, and engineering assessments to remove a large concrete dam and two additional rock dams from six sites in the Upper Bear River basin. Activities supported by the grant will open an additional 47.35 river miles, restore over 3,500 feet of stream and riverine habitat, reduce bank erosion and sedimentation, eliminate entrainment of fish, and provide engineering assessments for two critical projects to remove aging infrastructure. WNTI’s on the ground partners for the 2019 projects are Wyoming Game and Fish Department, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Trout Unlimited.

 

“Resources Legacy Fund’s partnership with the Western Native Trout Initiative proves it is possible to give landowners better irrigation while reconnecting rivers for fish,” said Julie Turrini, the Director of Lands, Rivers, and Communities at Resources Legacy Fund who oversees the Open Rivers Fund. “We are proud to continue to support this important work.”

 

Multiple irrigation diversion structures and other barriers fragment the Upper Bear River drainage, which spans Northern Utah, Southeast Idaho, and Southwest Wyoming.  WNTI is working with many partners to remove and replace aging infrastructure in order to protect Bonneville cutthroat trout strongholds, restore habitat connectivity, and open up access to high-quality upstream habitats and cold, clean water on both public and private lands.

 

“We are thrilled to continue the collaboration between WNTI and Resources Legacy Fund to benefit native fish, landowners, and recreationists in the Upper Bear River drainage,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “We completed the projects funded by the Open Rivers Fund last year and these new projects build upon those successes. These landscape-scale recovery efforts are complex and require collaboration from committed partners in both the public and private sectors.”

 

WNTI is a program of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and a recognized National Fish Habitat Partnership that works to cooperatively restore and recover 21 western native trout and char species and sub-species across their historic range. The program funds efforts that raise awareness of the importance of native trout and focus limited financial and human resources toward the highest-impact, locally-led, on-the-ground projects.  Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed more than $35 million in federal, public and private funds to support 147 priority native trout conservation projects. WNTI and partners have removed 96 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 1,199 miles of native trout habitat, and put in place 35 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout populations.

 

WAFWA news releases available at http://www.wafwa.org/news/

Photo Credit: Tyler Coleman

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.


Aug 05

Grants Benefiting Native Trout Awarded in Six Western States

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) has awarded $19,750 out of its small grant program for five projects in six states, which will be matched by $115,800 in other public and private funding. More than $135,550 in conservation efforts benefitting western native trout will occur as a result.

“We’re very grateful to our partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rocky Mountain Flyathlon, RepYourWater, Basin+Bend, California Fly Fishers Unlimited, Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers, and all our individual donors for supporting our 2019 Small Grants Program,” said Therese Thompson, WNTI Project Coordinator. “The community-based projects were selected because of their emphasis on citizen science and outreach to help address challenges facing the restoration and recovery of western native trout.”

Project summaries:

 

Alaska: Going to Extremes: Exploring the Northern Extent of Alaskan Trout Species                           $4,750

Applicant: Copper River Watershed Project

 

This project will implement up to five field trips for 75 local students in the region to learn more about native trout species ecology and biology, in particular Coastal Cutthroat Trout on the Copper River Delta and rainbow trout in the upper Copper Basin (additional species include Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling, and other salmonids).

 

 

California: West Hills College Coalinga Citizen & Undergraduate Science Project                                  $5,000

Applicant: West Hills College Coalinga

 

This project educates 141 students and citizens on Coastal Cutthroat Trout through guided undergraduate level research and delivery of findings at a conference.  This project is supported by

a comprehensive network of collaborators including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Park Service, and the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative.

 

Colorado: The Greenback Cutthroat Trout Exhibit                                                                                              $2,500

Applicant: Friends of El Paso County Nature Centers

 

Bear Creek Nature Center will add a new interpretive panel to the existing Greenback Cutthroat Trout exhibit that will address recent public questions to help better educate the public about this threatened species.

 

 

Montana/Wyoming: Yellowstone Fly Fishing Volunteer Program                                                                $5,000

Applicant: Yellowstone Forever Foundation

 

The objective of the Yellowstone Fly Fishing Volunteers Program is to engage volunteer anglers in collecting biologist data on Yellowstone’s Arctic Grayling, Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout fish populations to support the research and management efforts of the Yellowstone fisheries staff.

 

New Mexico: Willow Creek Habitat Monitoring                                                                                                  $2,500 Applicant: Gila/Rio Grande Chapter of Trout Unlimited and James Brooks

 

Grant funds support volunteer and undergraduate student training and sampling efforts that support two previous WNTI funded projects on Willow Creek in the Gila National Forest, to benefit Gila Trout after the 2012 Whitewater-Baldy wildfire.

 

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is a program of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and a nationally recognized partnership under the National Fish Habitat Partnership program that works cooperatively across 12 Western states to conserve (protect, restore, and recover) 21 native trout and char species across their historic range. Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed more than $35 million in federal, public and private funds to support 147 priority native trout conservation projects. WNTI and partners have removed 96 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 1,199 miles of native trout habitat, and put in place 35 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout populations.

 

For more information about the Small Grants Program, visit www.westernnativetrout.org

WAFWA news releases available at http://www.wafwa.org/news/

 

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.


Aug 01

2018 Annual Report

An annual report looking at the milestones WAFWA made in 2018, and where we are headed this year. 


Jul 30

People of the Sage: San Stiver

When it comes to the “People of the Sage,” there is a name that comes up often, no matter who you talk to or which conservation challenge you’re talking about: San Stiver.


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